Six Feet Under – Undead


Review by Jason Guest

With two new members – drummer Kevin Talley and guitarist Rob Arnold – having served in Chimaira for a long time, you’d be forgiven for expecting their addition to have a significant impact on the Six Feet Under sound. With Arnold having been with Chimaira for twelve years, it’s inevitable, but SFU still sound like SFU. The most significant difference is that Talley’s drums are more intricate, technical, and, well, just better. And with that, SFU have become that much dirtier. Production-wise, the album is sharp, the sound ominous. The guitars are filthy and cutting, and the drums are leaden. Barnes’s signature grunts are balanced in the mix and so becomes one with the instruments, the force of the band as a whole and their low end death grooves felt all the more.

Though ‘Frozen at the Moment of Death’ isn’t the strongest of openers, ‘Formaldehyde’s crawling grind and savage hooks quickly rescues the album from a false start. SFU’s trademark slow death fuels ‘18 Days’ as well as the discordant chords and chugging riffs of ‘Molest Dead’, but up to ‘Missing Victims’ – ‘Formaldehyde’ aside – there’s something missing. Fortunately from ‘Reckless’ onward, Undead keeps picking up and the second half of the album shows a marked improvement. But it’s the faster parts of the latter half such as in ‘Near Death Experience’ that hint at what the album is missing. SFU remain as heavy and as filthy as ever but their demented aggression cries out for a few faster tracks to let the band let rip. Because of this, Undead feels a little subdued, as if there’s something uglier under the surface waiting to make its presence felt. But maybe that’s because the new band members are adjusting to being in SFU and are holding back. This is still a great death metal album from a great death metal band, but when Hughell (replacing DeVries on bass), Talley and Arnold have spent more time with Barnes and Swanson, SFU’s next album should be much better. In the meantime, this will suffice.

6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Frozen at the Moment of Death
  2. Formaldehyde
  3. 18 Days
  4. Molest Dead
  5. Blood on My Hands
  6. Missing Victims
  7. Reckless
  8. Near Death Experience
  9. Delayed Combustion Device
  10. The Scar
  11. Vampire Apocalypse
  12. The Depths of Depravity